Sunday, September 12, 2010

What Emily's Been Watching, August Edition

It is time once again to recap my movies this month. Yes, smarty pants- it's past time; however, September started out busy and hasn't stopped, and these posts tend to be time consuming, so yes, I put it off. The problem with it being past time, is I am having a hard time remembering the month of August and all the movies I watched then. I am also having a hard time separating my September movies from my August movies, they are bleeding together. Lesson learned. I will be keeping a list as I watch each movie and also, I will try not to put this post off.
When I think back on August, what comes to mind is a lot of what Rob refers to as "fortnight movies". Rob is positivly allergic to period piece movies. Poor guy, he has no idea what he is missing -yes he does, I made him watch a few early on in our relationship with results that were none too enthusiastic.

Here I go and I can't promise this is all of them. I wouldn't be surprised if I end up adding a few here and there when I remember an oversight.

KOLYA (1996) [PG-13]: Dramady (I guess). This was a dvd that my sister in law gave Rob and I for Christmas (year before last if you must know) and I just barely got around to watching. Maybe next month I will get to last year's movie gift from her. I thought Kolya (Kolja) looked cute and all, it just wound up in our dvd box still wrapped until I found it whilst looking for something to watch late one night. It came from the Czech Republic and won the Oscar for best foreign film that year. I enjoyed it a lot. It was really cute and beautiful, if not very predictable. Sometimes predictable is ok when you are watching a movie with the cutest little Russian boy ever, good acting, writing, beautifully done and you are reading subtitles.
It's the story of a bachelor who fancies himself as something of a ladies man, who gets into a situation that finds him the caretaker of a little Russian boy (in occupied Czech Republic- since they were occupied by the Russians, this adds to the situation). Of course he is gruff and upset he is in this predicament (I'm not going to get into the details on how he came to be caretaker, but it is believable enough). His gruffness starts to melt of course by the cute little Russian boy with the cutest little raspy voice. It has some sad moments, but nothing too sad- it is sad (but cute) to see them trying to communicate with a language barrier, and you feel sorry for Kolya knowing that he must be so scared to be with this stranger he can't understand. It doesn't get him down for long though.
I'm not going to say it was super-duper-no-way-you-can-miss-this-movie-fantastic, but it is certainly well worth a watch. I assume it's on Netflix if you are interested, or you can borrow it from me- I own it (and have finally now, watched it). Emily recommends Kolya if you like movies about bearish old bachelors that have their heart warmed by adorable kids and you aren't one of those people that refuse to watch movies with subtitles.

CRANFORD/RETURN TO CRANFORD (2007/2009) [NR]: Drama. I originally watched Cranford about a year ago and was waiting for season 2 to come out. I finally got around to renting season 2, had it in my possession, read the back and realized I had no idea who was who. The remedy to that is to rent the first season again and watch it and then watch season two. So that's what I did. I gotta tell you- I did not mind one bit. I enjoyed it even more the second time around.
Cranford was originally a recommendation from my friend Ami when she found out that I liked North and South so much (watch for that one coming in a future WEBW post). It was also written by Elizabeth Gaskell and done by the BBC (I have to wonder how sad my life would be without BBC miniseries- sad indeed.) Anyway, Surprise! It's about a town called Cranford and while it's main character would probably be Miss Matty Jenkyns (played by Dame Judi Dench), it is really more like a 19th century soap opera (without bad acting, bad camera shots and no one gets trampled by a horse or has their husband's twin's baby). It is a lot of little stories featuring people of the town that get intertwined (the stories, not the characters, well- some of the characters I suppose). I was mostly taken by it's well done humor. The first time through (a year ago) I laughed and enjoyed it, but this time I watched it, I think I was more familiar with the humor and really had a good time. Imelda Staunton is in it and she always plays her part perfectly I think. Judi Dench of course is stellar and the whole cast does a great job (when has the BBC let you down with their miniseries?- Don't answer that Ami).
Ok, I was let down a little when it came to the second season. I had just had a great time watching the first one again and popped the second season in. My first disappointment came when I found out that it only consisted of two episodes. Boo- I was ready for a full season of fun, romance and tragedy. I got over that by being grateful for what I had and was then greeted with a reintroduction to the characters that I did not care for. They seemed to have decided to make them caricatures instead by over accentuating what was funny and endearing about each one, which annoyed me to a degree. I got over that (so did they- once they figured you were reacquainted with them and their knacks, they went back to just being characters). THEN I realized that many of the beloved characters were either absent or had small roles this time. A fair amount of new characters were introduced instead (which solved the mystery of why I looked at the back of the jacket and didn't recognize most of the characters -which as already stated, led me to re renting the first season and enjoying myself immensely- so I really can't begrudge them for that. Especially since after getting over that, I found myself totally wrapped up in the new characters and forgetting all about the others anyway). So all in all, I enjoyed season two. WOW! I have a feeling that was seriously confusing, but I am tired and I am leaving it in- haha. Get through that suckers! Anyway, I heartily recommend this charming series if you like North and South, BBC miniseries, romance, drama and clever humor.

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (1995) [PG]: Drama/Romance- it's Jane Austin y'all. Few people need to be told this is one of my all time greats. My daughter Elinor is named after Emma Thompson's character in this movie/book for goodness sakes. It's got comedy, drama, an almost flawless love story (x2), beautiful English country (beach side no less), Alan Rickman, Hugh Laurie (with very few lines, but he is still at his comic best), beautiful lighting and cinematography, I have got to say- this movie really has it all. Since it came to light in my last WEBW post that my sister in law Bronwyn hasn't seen it, I eagerly offered to watch it with her (I like how I keep talking about WEBW like I have been doing it for years). I have never NOT been in the mood to watch this movie. In fact, I'll let you in on a little secret. After watching it with B, I watched it 3 more times in the ensuing week- shhhh. Once with the commentary with Emma Thompson (who also wrote the screenplay) and a producer, and once with the commentary by Ang Lee (the director- this was his first English language movie) commentating with the director of photography. I also watched it one more time just normal. Don't judge me. I have a sickness. I have a disease. I just love this movie. Emily recommends Sense and Sensibility if you like movies. I also would like to recommend both commentaries- they are very informative and enjoyable and you are treated to stories of Ang Lee directing Emma Thompson to "look younger" and stories about fainting sheep and flatulent horses.

THE APARTMENT (1960) [NR]: Drama/dark comedy. As a listener of the Filmspotting podcast, I was urged enough to rent this movie during their Billy Wilder listener marathon. They totally talked me into it, and for that I say, "Thank you Adam and Matty!" This movie was excellent and I am sorry I hadn't seen it sooner. This was my first time seeing a movie with a young Shirley MacLaine and may I say how utterly charming and cute she was? She has kept that charm and cuteness through her life, but it was on a different level back in the day. I can't say enough about Jack Lemmon. I think he is great and the Oscar was robbed from him by Burt Lancaster (perhaps not fair of me to say, since I have never seen him in a movie, nor have I ever even heard of this movie he won for), but Lemmon is the man, and he doesn't disappoint here, in fact possibly at his best? The movie did walk away with Best Picture/director/screenplay/art direction/editing, so it did well for itself.
It's the story of a dude that is trying to get ahead in his job by loaning out his apartment to his bosses for use as a place to take their lady friends (believe it or not, but America not 50 years ago had the propriety to have hotel detectives kick out unmarried couples and refuse them rooms- and you couldn't take them home cause that's where your wife was, so a friend's apartment if you were lucky enough to score one, was your best option). Anyway, he uses this to get ahead in his job and he does, then soon finds out that the cute and charming elevator girl he is interested in is being brought to his apartment by the big boss (more like "big jerk boss"). That is all I am going to spoil you, you will have to rent it to find out what happens. This movie is so well done and very enjoyable and interesting and funny- do yourself a favor- check it out. Emily recommends The Apartment if you like American Classics, and if that's the case- this is a must see.

So no stinkers last month- hmm. Perhaps I should broaden my horizons. I will see what I can do this month.

Here are the trailers:

(I couldn't find a trailer for this movie that wasn't badly dubbed in a strange language, so I settled for this clip).


Amy said...

I enjoyed your reviews, Em. I'll have to netflix The Cranfords--right up my alley. We're reading North & South for Book Club this year due to my suggestion. So, how did B like Sense and Sensibility? It's such a great story.

B said...

I really liked it. I'm going to have to read the book now. I forgot to borrow that from you Em, but I'm sure I can find it somewhere. I'm slogging through Wuthering Heights right now. I'm really enjoying it, I just never have time to read, and have to keep going back because I forgot what happened. I confess that I watched Pride and Prejudice again this weekend, and loved it even more. There are so many scenes that make me smile/giggle. Is North by Northwest also a classic? I think that's in my Netflix queue.

Emily said...

Yes, Cranford is totally up your alley Aim- you'll enjoy it.

B- If my parents do come out this weekend, I can send the book up with them.
I L O V E D Wuthering Heights. I read it for the first time just a couple years ago. I have a website to suggest:
I came across it while reading it and it was so awesome. I used it to keep character's straight and also to go back and review certain chapters. There is even a map of the houses in the book and a time line.... it was a life saver. I almost always find a readers guide on the internet when I am reading a book that is.... well, usually "the classics" is when I do it. I am constantly going- who is this person again? Or if it's a really hard to read book, I will read the chapter review/synopsis after reading each chapter to make sure I didn't miss something. This is especially true for the first like 4th of the book. Once I get into it, I can usually drop doing that, but it can really help keep things straight. There. I just gave away all my secrets. No- I will chose not to feel shame that I have to do this sometimes.
Back to this Wuthering Heights website- it is the best site of it's kind I have ever come across. There is some dude in England that REALLY loves this book. I wish he loved all the books I read and need help with as much as Wuthering Heights- I'd be a happy girl.

Oh and yes! North by Northwest is a total classic. Awesome movie. Perhaps my favorite Hitchcock and you can't go wrong with Cary Grant. Enjoy.

Pops said...

I need to see P. & P. again. Is it the Colin firth edition that most of you like?

W.Veri. Nesseste. Nice Scottish ring to it.

Emily said...

But perhaps you might enjoy the Kira Knightly one a tad better? Shorter, Kira Knightly, and Donald Sutherland as the dad... Unless you have eyes for Colin Firth. :) ;D :D %) 8D


Pops said...

No eyes for Colin firth, however a peek at kira Knightly on occasion has happened. I have seen the movie with Her and Don Sutherland twice. Liked it. Just looking for a different view.


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